This cocktail’s name is a big middle finger (or whatever the era-appropriate gesture was) to Prohibition. At the time, the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution made the production, transport, and sale of alcohol illegal in the United States and within three miles of its shores. When this limit proved not enough, it was further extended to twelve. This meant that once you were twelve miles out into international waters, the party could begin, and it often did so with this, its namesake drink.
Ted Haigh, in Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, asserts that the drink was created by one Tommy Millard, and quotes a 1934 newspaper article which speaks of the traveling journalist moving between world capitals “like a leaf on the wind.” This, then, is a man who would know a thing or two about the edges of Prohibition.
The drink is boozy, mixing three separate types of base liquor. That’s pretty unusual, but the grenadine and lemon juice help smooth things out. I find it a bit tart and usually add an extra quarter ounce of simple syrup, but I’ve left the recipe below as it was originally written. As always, you’ll want to use real pomegranate grenadine, and not sugar water with red dye thrown into it!
Liquors in parentheses are what I used when I made this recipe, and are included as suggestions.
The Twelve Mile Limit Cocktail Recipe
- Cocktail shaker
- Cocktail Strainer
- Chilled Cocktail Coupe
- Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice and shake thoroughly.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist.